November 25, 2013

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR | Bear With Us Anyway

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In his column Monday titled, “Bearing With Us,” Sun Public Editor Nicholas Kaasik law fairly called us out for what has been a semester-long struggle to overcome the roadblocks that have hindered our development of The Sun’s website.

We have made some slow but steady progress in our continuous efforts to improve online. We relaunched on a WordPress platform, which is more intuitive and offers more features than The Sun’s previous site. The site’s RSS feed is back in working order. The speed and reliability of our servers are a major improvement from our old site. But, as Kaasik points out, a lot of work remains to be done. We regret we have been thus far unable to deliver on several web projects including, but not limited to, repairing our mobile apps, delivering our daily email newsletter and restoring access and navigability to our previous content.

Our student web team is working behind the scenes on all of these initiatives, but the last one is especially high-priority. As Kaasik aptly noted in his column, maintaining a database of the The Sun’s news coverage is crucial to informing incoming students, maintaining a historical perspective and preserving the work of our own alumni. We have outsourced the migration of archived posts to a tech company and they are currently working on the transfer. Our readers can now find content dating back to Spring 2012, and much more is forthcoming over the next few weeks. Although it is difficult to make guarantees, we expect to see this endeavor — the only one we are not conducting in-house — completely finished by the end of the upcoming exam period.

Kaasik touched on the fact that The Sun has a small, all-student web team comprised of developers who, like the rest of The Sun’s staff, volunteer their skills and receive no compensation in return. We admit that we sometimes find ourselves too understaffed to handle multiple major web projects — and too restricted by budgetary concerns to outsource them. Our imaginations are unlimited, but our coffers are unfortunately not. Nonetheless, we can and must push ourselves to achieve more in our efforts to improve our online presence. When Cornell breaks for the winter holidays, our work will not come to a screeching halt. We are striving for our readers to be able to return, when publication resumes in January, to a cornellsun.com that more closely reflects our original vision.

We appreciate that Kaasick and others continue to hold us accountable to improving The Sun’s online experience. The Sun’s editors will try to provide more regular status updates, and as we move forward with our work, we encourage our readers to contact us about the site anytime at web-editor@cornellsun.com. We know we’ve been asking for your patience for some time now. But as we commit ourselves fully to bettering The Sun across all platforms, we ask that you please continue to bear with us anyway.

— Rebecca Harris ’14, editor in chief, and Andy Levine ’14, web editor

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